I was so excited for my two brainiac teenagers to find jobs. Money is of course one reason. We have never given out allowances at the House of Es, mostly because we are all too scatterbrained (every one of us, it's genetic)to remember anything on a weekly basis, and also because, well, ain't nobody got pocket change for dat! "Dat" being six kids. We do pay them for doing jobs around the house, which is in general an ok system. But not very regular, and I honestly don't pay them very well.
So what happens when they want to "hang?" Just to meet friends for, geez, anything, costs them pocket change. Bowling, movies, mini-golf, football games, Mo's, none of that stuff is free it turns out. Now that they are driving age, every time the two of them have gone to meet friends, it has meant spending money. A lot of things they have simply missed out on, which means it's taking longer to establish friendships. This has not made for an easy transition. And it is so, so hard, I admit, to be the new kid in a new place and to always have to sit out whatever you are invited to because you don't have yet another five bucks.
How do teenagers pay to do all this stuff? Do their parents really just give them oodles of money to "hang" with? According to Peter and Jude they do.
But we don't.
Are they secretly embittered against us for this? Maybe a little.
They also see that I can't pay them to mow the lawn or to clean the windows every single day. They also see that the money it costs for one round of mini-golf would pay for an entire month of Netflix for our whole family, or a new pair of shoes for Isaac's ever growing feet, or bread and juice for that homeless guy downtown for a week.
And you know what? As much as they want to be cool and "hang" and play mini-golf, I know they love for our family to watch Netflix together, love Isaac and his shoe'd feet, even love that scary homeless guy who always wants to tell you his story and have you buy him some juice.
So like the three little pigs in the fable (minus the smart one who built the brick house), Peter and Jude went off to seek their fortunes in the world. I was thrilled to think of my little, impressionable ones being taken under someone's generous wings and taught to do, well, anything! Flip burgers with aplomb, bag groceries with gracious manners, make change from a register with ever increasing brilliance and dexterity! And have their own money for bowling!
Well, they did get jobs. But I'm not sure they are learning...anything!
Peter does this:
He stands on a street corner for four hour intervals listening to books on tape. He has finished about 5 books already, so I guess he is learning from reading? Oh! He is learning to be targeted and harassed by those filled with righteous indignation. Many the driver has shouted angrily at him, "ADOPT DONT SHOP!!!! PUPPY MILLS KILL!" He shrugs his shoulders and smiles. He got his first paycheck the other day and I don't think it hurt his dignity one bit to realize he could be replaced by a simple post and nail.
Jude. Here he is when I dropped him off a block away (he's ashamed of me) from his esteemed place of business for his first day last week:
What does he do? Oh, he passes out flyers. On the beach. Dressed like this. Or in a fancy taco costume when he's lucky (pictures of that yet to come!)
If he proves himself a worthy flyer-passer-outer, he will graduate to working in this classy taco shack. That is a gigantic "if," folks.
Well, they may not be interning with a motorcycle mechanic or a French chef, but they are filling some kind of need, and more importantly, are earning enough money to hang. My cool kids.